Episode 45: Faithful Spouses

John is joined by Brian, Charlene, and Kristene. Each talk about their own struggles dealing with their spouses’ lose of belief and discuss their online project, Faces East.

Faces East Discussion Board: http://www.faceseast.org/

Episode 45

77 comments on “Episode 45: Faithful Spouses”

  1. NightAvatar Reply

    How interesting! I just suggested a podcast with this theme, but obviously it has been in the works for a while. Glad to see John’s way ahead of me! 🙂

    Makes me wonder if any of my other suggestions are “in the works”…

    I’m anxious to listen to this (will start once I’m done posting this comment) because my wife is still very much a believer and I have a hard time seeing things from her (in my eyes) narrow view of the world and many things outside the church.

    *clicks play*

  2. NightAvatar Reply

    How interesting! I just suggested a podcast with this theme, but obviously it has been in the works for a while. Glad to see John’s way ahead of me! 🙂

    Makes me wonder if any of my other suggestions are “in the works”…

    I’m anxious to listen to this (will start once I’m done posting this comment) because my wife is still very much a believer and I have a hard time seeing things from her (in my eyes) narrow view of the world and many things outside the church.

    *clicks play*

  3. jax Reply

    Wonderful podcast. Thanks so much to these amazing guests for sharing your stories. Christine, you may just be a new personal hero of mine. I learned many things about marriage from you. I wanted to thank you for your bravery and articulation. Though my husband and I disaffected around the same time, we went through different phases together. There were times when things had been discussed to death and you just want to move on. Marriage is very scary to redefine outside of the church; and you have raised the bar on working through the rough patches.
    Thank you so much for discussing your deeply personal stories. All of you certainly could write a book on how to build bridges and love in spite of differences. I have a feeling that your marriage will be amazing and beyond expectation on the other side of all of this, Christine. Peace be with you all.
    jax

  4. jax Reply

    Wonderful podcast. Thanks so much to these amazing guests for sharing your stories. Christine, you may just be a new personal hero of mine. I learned many things about marriage from you. I wanted to thank you for your bravery and articulation. Though my husband and I disaffected around the same time, we went through different phases together. There were times when things had been discussed to death and you just want to move on. Marriage is very scary to redefine outside of the church; and you have raised the bar on working through the rough patches.
    Thank you so much for discussing your deeply personal stories. All of you certainly could write a book on how to build bridges and love in spite of differences. I have a feeling that your marriage will be amazing and beyond expectation on the other side of all of this, Christine. Peace be with you all.
    jax

  5. NightAvatar Reply

    Finally finished this after many interruptions (meetings, etc. – I listen from work, while I code web pages).

    It was really nice to hear from Bryan again! I have posted back and forth with him in the comments for the Stages of Faith Podcast, and I am very impressed with him.

    I was very impressed with the women in this as well. They showed a nice lack of judge-mentality towards their spouses and people in similar positions (exmos, postmos, etc).

    Overall though, I was a bit disappointed with the discussion. Possibly because the stuff most important to me was barely touched upon, and not until towards the end (i.e. how this affects the kids, their own testimonies, etc). I think my wife might appreciate it more, sharing views similar to the women who spoke. I’ll see if she will listen. She might also like the Faces East website. (We don’t much talk about religion because she thinks I’m trying to de-convert her and I get offended by her lack of understanding.)

    I am also interested to know how Christine (or was it Charlene?) can rationalize that the church teaches great family values when so many people seem to have advised her to leave her husband. I have a very similar experience (as I told Bryan in the other Podcast thread I mentioned) where 2 close neighbors of mine converted and subsequently left their husbands because they wouldn’t join. I experience so many examples of stuff like this it makes it impossible for me to see the church as a good place to learn “family values” in spite of the many claims to such.

    Regardless, kudos to all three of you for opening up and putting yourselves out there in the public. It takes a lot of guts – and, I believe, love. You are all very good examples! 🙂

  6. NightAvatar Reply

    Finally finished this after many interruptions (meetings, etc. – I listen from work, while I code web pages).

    It was really nice to hear from Bryan again! I have posted back and forth with him in the comments for the Stages of Faith Podcast, and I am very impressed with him.

    I was very impressed with the women in this as well. They showed a nice lack of judge-mentality towards their spouses and people in similar positions (exmos, postmos, etc).

    Overall though, I was a bit disappointed with the discussion. Possibly because the stuff most important to me was barely touched upon, and not until towards the end (i.e. how this affects the kids, their own testimonies, etc). I think my wife might appreciate it more, sharing views similar to the women who spoke. I’ll see if she will listen. She might also like the Faces East website. (We don’t much talk about religion because she thinks I’m trying to de-convert her and I get offended by her lack of understanding.)

    I am also interested to know how Christine (or was it Charlene?) can rationalize that the church teaches great family values when so many people seem to have advised her to leave her husband. I have a very similar experience (as I told Bryan in the other Podcast thread I mentioned) where 2 close neighbors of mine converted and subsequently left their husbands because they wouldn’t join. I experience so many examples of stuff like this it makes it impossible for me to see the church as a good place to learn “family values” in spite of the many claims to such.

    Regardless, kudos to all three of you for opening up and putting yourselves out there in the public. It takes a lot of guts – and, I believe, love. You are all very good examples! 🙂

  7. Jacque Reply

    I can’t wait to listen to this tonight. DH has already heard it and said it was good. I recently participated in something similar and have been waiting anxiously for this podcast.

    NightAvatar, I hope your wife will join us at Faces East. We are pretty friendly. 🙂

  8. Jacque Reply

    I can’t wait to listen to this tonight. DH has already heard it and said it was good. I recently participated in something similar and have been waiting anxiously for this podcast.

    NightAvatar, I hope your wife will join us at Faces East. We are pretty friendly. 🙂

  9. Peggy Reply

    I was so sad to hear that one participant’s husband was counseled and agreed to step back for six weeks and not visit the NOM and other sites that discussed uncomfortable Mormon doctrines. Not because it relieved the pressure on their marriage (which may or may not have been good), but because the participant wasn’t required to relieve pressure in the same way.

    Shouldn’t she also have been requested to stop attending church for six weeks? The street to understanding is a two-way road.

  10. Peggy Reply

    I was so sad to hear that one participant’s husband was counseled and agreed to step back for six weeks and not visit the NOM and other sites that discussed uncomfortable Mormon doctrines. Not because it relieved the pressure on their marriage (which may or may not have been good), but because the participant wasn’t required to relieve pressure in the same way.

    Shouldn’t she also have been requested to stop attending church for six weeks? The street to understanding is a two-way road.

  11. Dennis Reply

    This is the best Podcast yet!

    I certainly learned a lot listening to the other side of the story. Kudos to every single one of these panel members. They are a cut above most by far to open themselves up enough to come on here. Their maturity in being able to separate church and family is mind-boggling when I consider my own experience as the disaffected spouse. Agreeing to disagree seemed to be what helped these folks. I always said that we didn’t respect each others’ opinion, but I at least respected her right to have an opinion. I don’t feel like that was reciprocated. That seems to be what made these marriages progress.

    In spite of all that, I still saw missing the one thing that eluded the discussions I had with my ex-spouse… While they claim they don’t put the church before the marriage… that they’ve been able to separate the two, not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.” I’m not talking about debating. I’m talking about an internal serious reflection of their own because of the love and trust they have for their spouse. I seemed to sense that because the disbelieving spouse “flipped out”, they were thrust into “defensive mode” or “backed into a corner.” And from then on, everything is one-sided. They put demands on the disbeliever…”I need you to stop…” How about they stop the church for a significant amount of time and see what happens… or what doesn’t happen.

    Like one said, “I could never imagine myself not being Mormon.” Did any of them give it a try? As huge of strides as they’ve taken (and again, these folks are far beyond the norm) I still don’t sense they have ever TRULY considered the alternative.

    I need you to stop.

    Outside of the church

  12. Dennis Reply

    This is the best Podcast yet!

    I certainly learned a lot listening to the other side of the story. Kudos to every single one of these panel members. They are a cut above most by far to open themselves up enough to come on here. Their maturity in being able to separate church and family is mind-boggling when I consider my own experience as the disaffected spouse. Agreeing to disagree seemed to be what helped these folks. I always said that we didn’t respect each others’ opinion, but I at least respected her right to have an opinion. I don’t feel like that was reciprocated. That seems to be what made these marriages progress.

    In spite of all that, I still saw missing the one thing that eluded the discussions I had with my ex-spouse… While they claim they don’t put the church before the marriage… that they’ve been able to separate the two, not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.” I’m not talking about debating. I’m talking about an internal serious reflection of their own because of the love and trust they have for their spouse. I seemed to sense that because the disbelieving spouse “flipped out”, they were thrust into “defensive mode” or “backed into a corner.” And from then on, everything is one-sided. They put demands on the disbeliever…”I need you to stop…” How about they stop the church for a significant amount of time and see what happens… or what doesn’t happen.

    Like one said, “I could never imagine myself not being Mormon.” Did any of them give it a try? As huge of strides as they’ve taken (and again, these folks are far beyond the norm) I still don’t sense they have ever TRULY considered the alternative.

    I need you to stop.

    Outside of the church

  13. Dennis Reply

    Sorry about those last 2 phrases… I was taking notes during the podcast and I forgot to delete those.

    One extra note of my own… The one gentleman talked about “liking Mormonism” and I would say that my experience has taught me that everything I liked about Mormonism, the good stuff, is still available from outside it… without the personal and familial costs.

  14. Dennis Reply

    Sorry about those last 2 phrases… I was taking notes during the podcast and I forgot to delete those.

    One extra note of my own… The one gentleman talked about “liking Mormonism” and I would say that my experience has taught me that everything I liked about Mormonism, the good stuff, is still available from outside it… without the personal and familial costs.

  15. Swearing Elder Reply

    Wonderful. Really. Wonderful. As a non-believer this was a nice session to listen to — to be able to empathize more.

    John – Major KUDOS for this and for being such a good listener and just letting them tell their stories.

  16. Swearing Elder Reply

    Wonderful. Really. Wonderful. As a non-believer this was a nice session to listen to — to be able to empathize more.

    John – Major KUDOS for this and for being such a good listener and just letting them tell their stories.

  17. Kristene Reply

    Thanks everyone, so far. It was really fantastic to do. I have learned to much from Brian and Charlene, and John, of course. I think we have only brushed the surace of this conversation.

    Against my Dh’s counsel :), I thought I would answer a couple of the questions raised in the comments:

    NightAvatar — I was speaking more in general when I made the comment about people jumping to “he’s an apostate…etc.” But I did have two friends who said something similar. “If he can’t he kind of priesthood holder you deserve, than you should just leave.”
    However, these were said because they were my friends, and it wasn’t due to him leaving the Church, so much as the pain, hurt, anger, battles and other things that I was sobbingly describing to them. It was a thoughless comment meant to be supportive. Like telling a grieving mother who’s baby was stillborn, “he just needed to get a body, and you can still have other children.” It is just thoughtlessness, meant to be supportive. It is not specific to Mormons. I brought the comment up to one of them recently, and because now she had a chance to think about it, even she agrees it wasn’t the most helpful thing to say. Recognizing this as a human failing doesn’t lay the blame at the feet of the Church for me. I am sorry for your friends.

  18. Kristene Reply

    Thanks everyone, so far. It was really fantastic to do. I have learned to much from Brian and Charlene, and John, of course. I think we have only brushed the surace of this conversation.

    Against my Dh’s counsel :), I thought I would answer a couple of the questions raised in the comments:

    NightAvatar — I was speaking more in general when I made the comment about people jumping to “he’s an apostate…etc.” But I did have two friends who said something similar. “If he can’t he kind of priesthood holder you deserve, than you should just leave.”
    However, these were said because they were my friends, and it wasn’t due to him leaving the Church, so much as the pain, hurt, anger, battles and other things that I was sobbingly describing to them. It was a thoughless comment meant to be supportive. Like telling a grieving mother who’s baby was stillborn, “he just needed to get a body, and you can still have other children.” It is just thoughtlessness, meant to be supportive. It is not specific to Mormons. I brought the comment up to one of them recently, and because now she had a chance to think about it, even she agrees it wasn’t the most helpful thing to say. Recognizing this as a human failing doesn’t lay the blame at the feet of the Church for me. I am sorry for your friends.

  19. Kristene Reply

    Peggy –When we were in counseling, it was a give’n’take agreement we came to. The counselor advised that we stop talking about Church issues, but taking a sabbatical was for me — something I needed from Dh to do for a bit, and he had requirements for me, too. However, stopping Church attendance was not one of them.

    If I understand it correctly, you are comparing antagonism for antagonism, but the difference was that my attendance wasn’t an antagonism for him. I needed to have him take a leave of absence because I felt that the time he was spending on the forums, and hungrily devouring all he could read on his issues with the Church, were taking away from us focusing on our marriage. In his own words, I “took away” his support groups, the places where he could find people with similar problems. At the same time, I didn’t have anyone to turn to. I did a little with FE, but I was still skeptical of the site. I wasn’t talking to anyone, except the counselor and maybe my mom.

    It was only for 6 weeks tops that he left the boards alone. What this did was leave us only with each other, with only each other to talk to things about. And since church topics were off limits for a while, we were able to calm down, refocus our energies, and learn to speak to each other more civilly about less challenging topics. We were then able to build on that as we began to discuss the Church again.

  20. Kristene Reply

    Peggy –When we were in counseling, it was a give’n’take agreement we came to. The counselor advised that we stop talking about Church issues, but taking a sabbatical was for me — something I needed from Dh to do for a bit, and he had requirements for me, too. However, stopping Church attendance was not one of them.

    If I understand it correctly, you are comparing antagonism for antagonism, but the difference was that my attendance wasn’t an antagonism for him. I needed to have him take a leave of absence because I felt that the time he was spending on the forums, and hungrily devouring all he could read on his issues with the Church, were taking away from us focusing on our marriage. In his own words, I “took away” his support groups, the places where he could find people with similar problems. At the same time, I didn’t have anyone to turn to. I did a little with FE, but I was still skeptical of the site. I wasn’t talking to anyone, except the counselor and maybe my mom.

    It was only for 6 weeks tops that he left the boards alone. What this did was leave us only with each other, with only each other to talk to things about. And since church topics were off limits for a while, we were able to calm down, refocus our energies, and learn to speak to each other more civilly about less challenging topics. We were then able to build on that as we began to discuss the Church again.

  21. Kristene Reply

    Dennis — All three of us have taken serious looks at our spouse’s issues. I am sorry that didn’t come across in the interview. I am not talking about debating either. I don’t think my Dh is irrational, but the things that bother him, don’t bother me as much or at all. I know Charlene and Brian will agree that there is no way to get through this without, on some level, processing the issues of your spouse. But you have to allow that different people will always have different perspective.

    Dh and I don’t see all things the same way. There have been times, a few, where I have come at one of his issues from a completely different viewpoint that he never considered — and my views have changed his opinions. Other times, he has considered my viewpoint, but discarded it.

    For me personally, I have considered what it would be like not to be a Mormon. I considered it deeply when I wondered about the existence of God. And when I was so ill 3 years ago, I didn’t attend Church at all for about 10 months. I missed being there. It was in part social, but a bigger part, was also the spiritual for me. I felt that deficit in my life.

    I do not believe that God only talks to Mormons, or that His teaching can only be found in the LDS Church. But this is right for me. Mormons are the language I speak, the tribe I know. Quoting John Dehlin, “This is where I practice my spirituality.” My life is on a shorter string since I was ill, and I don’t want to spend anymore time second guessing myself. This is where I meet my Lord. And Dh doesn’t take issue with me being part of it. As husband and wife, we are each on our own spiritual journeys. I believe the paths are parallel, and not divergent. We can both support each other’s journey without needing the other to walk in the same road.

  22. Kristene Reply

    Dennis — All three of us have taken serious looks at our spouse’s issues. I am sorry that didn’t come across in the interview. I am not talking about debating either. I don’t think my Dh is irrational, but the things that bother him, don’t bother me as much or at all. I know Charlene and Brian will agree that there is no way to get through this without, on some level, processing the issues of your spouse. But you have to allow that different people will always have different perspective.

    Dh and I don’t see all things the same way. There have been times, a few, where I have come at one of his issues from a completely different viewpoint that he never considered — and my views have changed his opinions. Other times, he has considered my viewpoint, but discarded it.

    For me personally, I have considered what it would be like not to be a Mormon. I considered it deeply when I wondered about the existence of God. And when I was so ill 3 years ago, I didn’t attend Church at all for about 10 months. I missed being there. It was in part social, but a bigger part, was also the spiritual for me. I felt that deficit in my life.

    I do not believe that God only talks to Mormons, or that His teaching can only be found in the LDS Church. But this is right for me. Mormons are the language I speak, the tribe I know. Quoting John Dehlin, “This is where I practice my spirituality.” My life is on a shorter string since I was ill, and I don’t want to spend anymore time second guessing myself. This is where I meet my Lord. And Dh doesn’t take issue with me being part of it. As husband and wife, we are each on our own spiritual journeys. I believe the paths are parallel, and not divergent. We can both support each other’s journey without needing the other to walk in the same road.

  23. Glenn Reply

    Loved it. Bottom line: if you are doubting God, go get a massage. Sign me up. Best. Take. Home. Message. Ever.

  24. Glenn Reply

    Loved it. Bottom line: if you are doubting God, go get a massage. Sign me up. Best. Take. Home. Message. Ever.

  25. NightAvatar Reply

    Lol, nice one Glenn. 🙂

    I’m obviously not up on the Mormon shorthand lingo. What is DH? Dear Husband?

    Sorry for misspelling your name Kristene. I guess John needs to update the name list for this Podcast. 😉

    Not to start a debate here, but I was kind of hoping for specific reasons/examples for how the church espouses and teaches “family values” rather than just brushing off comments to “people” and not “the church” (which I can understand, and yes that stuff is not exclusive to our church). I feel I must be missing the “big picture” here. It would be nice to hear some specific examples because one of my wife’s main “arguments” for raising our kids in the church is that it’s supposedly the best place (or at least one of the best and one available to us) for kids to learn good values, including family values. I really want to see her point, but I am totally not getting it. I see too much of the opposite. What good stuff am I missing?

    Maybe I need a massage!

  26. NightAvatar Reply

    Lol, nice one Glenn. 🙂

    I’m obviously not up on the Mormon shorthand lingo. What is DH? Dear Husband?

    Sorry for misspelling your name Kristene. I guess John needs to update the name list for this Podcast. 😉

    Not to start a debate here, but I was kind of hoping for specific reasons/examples for how the church espouses and teaches “family values” rather than just brushing off comments to “people” and not “the church” (which I can understand, and yes that stuff is not exclusive to our church). I feel I must be missing the “big picture” here. It would be nice to hear some specific examples because one of my wife’s main “arguments” for raising our kids in the church is that it’s supposedly the best place (or at least one of the best and one available to us) for kids to learn good values, including family values. I really want to see her point, but I am totally not getting it. I see too much of the opposite. What good stuff am I missing?

    Maybe I need a massage!

  27. NightAvatar Reply

    For the record, I do see some good values taught in the church, including service, sacrifice, charity, hope, love.

    The problem is I also see many between-the-lines teachings that get picked up, such as racism, bigotry, judge-mentality, closed-mindedness, insecurity, inadequacy, even depression and fear.

    Too many of the teachings focus on having the ENTIRE family (especially the “Patriarch” or dad) being active, faithful believers in The Church. In cases where that doesn’t happen, much of the idealism falls apart. Things such as Eternal Marriage, Priesthood Blessings, Priesthood Healings, Temple Attendance, Family Prayer, FHE (with a gospel theme), Family Scripture Study, Abrahamic Covenant, in general a good Patriarchal Father Figure, all become absent or void.

    Then, what about the Primary songs they learn, such as: “I have a family here on Earth, they are so good to me. I hope that we can be together for E-ter-ni-ty. Families can be Together Forever, through Heavenly Father’s plan…” and all the focus Primary has had on Temples the last three years or so? That teaches exclusion, elitism and even resentment – if the kids grow up to believe their father or mother is preventing the family from enjoying the full blessings of the Lord.

    Basically, I believe it can be harmful and confusing to children. And it certainly paints a false Utopian view of the world. Perhaps this is also one of the reasons many Mormons (women especially) cling to their parents even in adulthood. Self reliance is difficult, and those raised in the church (maybe outside of Utah especially?) have been sort of shielded, separated, even concealed from the outside world. They grow up relying on their parents and a secluded group (other members) and thus miss some of the growth, self reliance and confidence gained through personal exploration and inclusion in the world. I’m just musing out loud I guess.

    Any thoughts?

    • Maria Reply

      Your last paragragh is me to a ‘T’!  I was raised in Oklahoma and while for 7 years (ever since the day I went through the endowment ceremony) I have known the church was false and sexist I couldn’t leave it.  It was too hard to break from my upbringing/brainwash.  The final straw was when I realized that I couldn’t teach it to my children because i didn’t believe it was true.  Easter came and went without any mention of jesus because I don’t believe he is mine or anyone’s savior or perhaps that he even lived.

  28. NightAvatar Reply

    For the record, I do see some good values taught in the church, including service, sacrifice, charity, hope, love.

    The problem is I also see many between-the-lines teachings that get picked up, such as racism, bigotry, judge-mentality, closed-mindedness, insecurity, inadequacy, even depression and fear.

    Too many of the teachings focus on having the ENTIRE family (especially the “Patriarch” or dad) being active, faithful believers in The Church. In cases where that doesn’t happen, much of the idealism falls apart. Things such as Eternal Marriage, Priesthood Blessings, Priesthood Healings, Temple Attendance, Family Prayer, FHE (with a gospel theme), Family Scripture Study, Abrahamic Covenant, in general a good Patriarchal Father Figure, all become absent or void.

    Then, what about the Primary songs they learn, such as: “I have a family here on Earth, they are so good to me. I hope that we can be together for E-ter-ni-ty. Families can be Together Forever, through Heavenly Father’s plan…” and all the focus Primary has had on Temples the last three years or so? That teaches exclusion, elitism and even resentment – if the kids grow up to believe their father or mother is preventing the family from enjoying the full blessings of the Lord.

    Basically, I believe it can be harmful and confusing to children. And it certainly paints a false Utopian view of the world. Perhaps this is also one of the reasons many Mormons (women especially) cling to their parents even in adulthood. Self reliance is difficult, and those raised in the church (maybe outside of Utah especially?) have been sort of shielded, separated, even concealed from the outside world. They grow up relying on their parents and a secluded group (other members) and thus miss some of the growth, self reliance and confidence gained through personal exploration and inclusion in the world. I’m just musing out loud I guess.

    Any thoughts?

  29. scott Reply

    This was a great podcast, I thought everyone was very respoectful for the most part.

    It’s tough because people tend to react similarly on both sides of the issue. Disaffected Mormons get upset at traditional Mormons for being closed-minded (I find myself using that word often enough), and traditional Mormons believe the disaffected are a threat to their faith. I think the breakdown of communication happens both ways, which makes it difficult for the other to be understanding when they listen to the opposing side. But this was great, John and everyone else did a fantastic job and offered some priceless advice for the traditional and disaffected alike. Not a perfect episode, but I don’t think an hour is enough time for a perfect episode on this topic.

    Slam dunk…

  30. scott Reply

    This was a great podcast, I thought everyone was very respoectful for the most part.

    It’s tough because people tend to react similarly on both sides of the issue. Disaffected Mormons get upset at traditional Mormons for being closed-minded (I find myself using that word often enough), and traditional Mormons believe the disaffected are a threat to their faith. I think the breakdown of communication happens both ways, which makes it difficult for the other to be understanding when they listen to the opposing side. But this was great, John and everyone else did a fantastic job and offered some priceless advice for the traditional and disaffected alike. Not a perfect episode, but I don’t think an hour is enough time for a perfect episode on this topic.

    Slam dunk…

  31. Brian Johnston Reply

    [Dennis]”not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.”

    I don’t think there was really enough time to get into this, so it may have come across that way. You are right though. I would say from my observations talking to couples in this situation, that the believing spouses at some point have to understand the information that made their spouse lose faith in order to understand their disaffected spouse.

    There’s a wide gulf between information, meaning and conclusions though. It doesn’t mean the believing spouse will make the same decisions and form the same meanings and conclusions.

    I’ve actually read FAR more about the controversial aspects of our Church history than my disaffected spouse: Rough Stone Rolling, No Man Knows My History, Mormonism and the Magic World View, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, to name a few.

    I am pretty sure Charlene has looked into things. I don’t know to what level, but I know she is very understanding and sympathetic towards the controversial aspects that make people upset and lose faith.

    Those issues and problems are real, and they are not irrational.

  32. Brian Johnston Reply

    [Dennis]”not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.”

    I don’t think there was really enough time to get into this, so it may have come across that way. You are right though. I would say from my observations talking to couples in this situation, that the believing spouses at some point have to understand the information that made their spouse lose faith in order to understand their disaffected spouse.

    There’s a wide gulf between information, meaning and conclusions though. It doesn’t mean the believing spouse will make the same decisions and form the same meanings and conclusions.

    I’ve actually read FAR more about the controversial aspects of our Church history than my disaffected spouse: Rough Stone Rolling, No Man Knows My History, Mormonism and the Magic World View, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, to name a few.

    I am pretty sure Charlene has looked into things. I don’t know to what level, but I know she is very understanding and sympathetic towards the controversial aspects that make people upset and lose faith.

    Those issues and problems are real, and they are not irrational.

  33. Brian Johnston Reply

    (Dennis)”One extra note of my own… The one gentleman talked about “liking Mormonism” and I would say that my experience has taught me that everything I liked about Mormonism, the good stuff, is still available from outside it… without the personal and familial costs.”

    I understand what you are saying Dennis. I suppose this next comment qualifies me as probably less than “traditional” compared to what you have in mind for a “TBM,” but you are partially right. I could perhaps find everything I like in Mormonism somewhere else.

    I could spend a lot of time and effort collecting it all from the wide and diverse body of spiritual thought throughout history. I could raise funds to build a meeting house. I could go out and preach to make converts to fill that building so that I have a spiritual community in which to practice religious ideals. I might even be able, though doubtful, to convince all those people to only talk about and believe the parts of Mormonism that I like (which is a lot).

    But then I have to ask myself … Why bother? Other people have already put 180+ years of blood, sweat and tears into building up something that I already like.

    Are there some things I could do without? Yeah, there sure is. I wish some things were a different. But I find that everywhere I go, both in the Church and outside.

  34. Brian Johnston Reply

    (Dennis)”One extra note of my own… The one gentleman talked about “liking Mormonism” and I would say that my experience has taught me that everything I liked about Mormonism, the good stuff, is still available from outside it… without the personal and familial costs.”

    I understand what you are saying Dennis. I suppose this next comment qualifies me as probably less than “traditional” compared to what you have in mind for a “TBM,” but you are partially right. I could perhaps find everything I like in Mormonism somewhere else.

    I could spend a lot of time and effort collecting it all from the wide and diverse body of spiritual thought throughout history. I could raise funds to build a meeting house. I could go out and preach to make converts to fill that building so that I have a spiritual community in which to practice religious ideals. I might even be able, though doubtful, to convince all those people to only talk about and believe the parts of Mormonism that I like (which is a lot).

    But then I have to ask myself … Why bother? Other people have already put 180+ years of blood, sweat and tears into building up something that I already like.

    Are there some things I could do without? Yeah, there sure is. I wish some things were a different. But I find that everywhere I go, both in the Church and outside.

  35. NightAvatar Reply

    Excellent comments Brian, thanks! 🙂

    I guess it’s hard for some (like myself) to see all the good things in the church which attract people like you. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and aren’t real and attractive to many intelligent, reasonable people.

  36. NightAvatar Reply

    Excellent comments Brian, thanks! 🙂

    I guess it’s hard for some (like myself) to see all the good things in the church which attract people like you. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and aren’t real and attractive to many intelligent, reasonable people.

  37. Peggy Reply

    Kristene,

    Thanks for answering my post and trying to explain your side. It probably doesn’t feel like it, but I really am trying to see your side and feel your pain. *Nice warning…there’s a “but” coming below. 😉

    Actually, I have been on both sides of this painful struggle during two marriages. At the end of the first marriage, my husband left the church and I left him. At the end of the second marriage, I left the church and my husband left me. (There’s ironic justice for you.)

    During the end of my first marriage, like you, I felt justified by my faith that I was doing the right thing by pushing away the problems he had. After all, God would not want me to threaten my own faith, would he?

    Kristine, you said above, “In his own words, I ‘took away’ his support groups, the places where he could find people with similar problems. At the same time, I didn’t have anyone to turn to.” (Here’s the “but” I warned you about.) BUT you did. Like me, right or wrong, we had the strength of our belief that God was on our side, and we could sit beside people every week who shared that belief. That’s a pretty strong psychological support system, isn’t it? What did we leave them with for support? Because they too had their lives built totally around the church…only us.

    A church counselor said to me, “You choose to follow the church’s path. If he chooses a different path, then he has made a choice not to be with you.” I believed him. I left..so self-satisfied that God wanted me to keep my Mormon beliefs above all. Mea culpa.

    I grew more during the second divorce, but I suffered far more pain. During the end of my second marriage, I saw myself in the dark mirror of my husband. He told me that he had fasted and prayed and “Heavenly Father” wanted him to leave me. Huh? God wanted him to break up our family? Oh…that’s right. I had used the same logic with my first marriage.

    I guess we can justify anything if we can’t find a way to actually feel empathy outside of our groups of privilege (a whole other subject) and look at things from another view point.

    Speaking of another view point, the word that was used in this podcast to describe people who are struggling with church concepts was offensive to someone who is actually struggling with church concepts…”the DISAFFECTED.” The disaffected? It sounds like a disease, doesn’t it?

  38. Peggy Reply

    Kristene,

    Thanks for answering my post and trying to explain your side. It probably doesn’t feel like it, but I really am trying to see your side and feel your pain. *Nice warning…there’s a “but” coming below. 😉

    Actually, I have been on both sides of this painful struggle during two marriages. At the end of the first marriage, my husband left the church and I left him. At the end of the second marriage, I left the church and my husband left me. (There’s ironic justice for you.)

    During the end of my first marriage, like you, I felt justified by my faith that I was doing the right thing by pushing away the problems he had. After all, God would not want me to threaten my own faith, would he?

    Kristine, you said above, “In his own words, I ‘took away’ his support groups, the places where he could find people with similar problems. At the same time, I didn’t have anyone to turn to.” (Here’s the “but” I warned you about.) BUT you did. Like me, right or wrong, we had the strength of our belief that God was on our side, and we could sit beside people every week who shared that belief. That’s a pretty strong psychological support system, isn’t it? What did we leave them with for support? Because they too had their lives built totally around the church…only us.

    A church counselor said to me, “You choose to follow the church’s path. If he chooses a different path, then he has made a choice not to be with you.” I believed him. I left..so self-satisfied that God wanted me to keep my Mormon beliefs above all. Mea culpa.

    I grew more during the second divorce, but I suffered far more pain. During the end of my second marriage, I saw myself in the dark mirror of my husband. He told me that he had fasted and prayed and “Heavenly Father” wanted him to leave me. Huh? God wanted him to break up our family? Oh…that’s right. I had used the same logic with my first marriage.

    I guess we can justify anything if we can’t find a way to actually feel empathy outside of our groups of privilege (a whole other subject) and look at things from another view point.

    Speaking of another view point, the word that was used in this podcast to describe people who are struggling with church concepts was offensive to someone who is actually struggling with church concepts…”the DISAFFECTED.” The disaffected? It sounds like a disease, doesn’t it?

  39. Charlene Reply

    Brian’s right, this was ONLY a 1 hr show and we only scratched the surface. I think John’s primary goal here was to give the disaffected spouse a little glimpse of how their disbelief affects the believing spouse, how it impacts the marriage and children. And I hope we did that–opened up the two-way street a little better, maybe.

    I think there are LOTS of other podcasts that need to be done: the do’s and don’t’s of making a marriage like this work, the balance of LDS expectations and disaffected spouse’s expectations, what/how to teach the children. One thing we didn’t cover that has been a huge thing for me to deal with is being the “bridge”–dealing with the emotions and responses of extended family, church friends and church leadership, dealing with how that all seeps into the family life and that could lead to a discussion of what both spouses can do to make the “bridging” easier.

    Dennis says: “While they claim they don’t put the church before the marriage… that they’ve been able to separate the two, not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.””

    Brian is right–we didn’t have time to go into that and that really wasn’t the topic. The topic was the impact that disaffection has on the marriage. But the truth is I have taken a serious look. In fact I would be unable to say that I understood my husband’s disaffection if I hadn’t taken an honest, open-minded look at his concerns. I could hardly be respectful of my husband if I hadn’t taken a close, open-minded look at his concerns. Brian says it well: there are facts then there is meaning and conclusion. I obviously attach a different meaning to those facts and a different conclusion.

    NightAvatar says: “I am also interested to know how Christine (or was it Charlene?) can rationalize that the church teaches great family values when so many people seem to have advised her to leave her husband.” With only a couple exceptions, those who questioned why I stayed married to an “apostate” were LDS friends and family, NOT ecclesiastical leaders. And like Kristene says, they were well-meaning but ignorant or unthinking. Those who said that and are still around to see the marriage we’ve built are very happy that we’re still married and are very supportive.

  40. Charlene Reply

    Brian’s right, this was ONLY a 1 hr show and we only scratched the surface. I think John’s primary goal here was to give the disaffected spouse a little glimpse of how their disbelief affects the believing spouse, how it impacts the marriage and children. And I hope we did that–opened up the two-way street a little better, maybe.

    I think there are LOTS of other podcasts that need to be done: the do’s and don’t’s of making a marriage like this work, the balance of LDS expectations and disaffected spouse’s expectations, what/how to teach the children. One thing we didn’t cover that has been a huge thing for me to deal with is being the “bridge”–dealing with the emotions and responses of extended family, church friends and church leadership, dealing with how that all seeps into the family life and that could lead to a discussion of what both spouses can do to make the “bridging” easier.

    Dennis says: “While they claim they don’t put the church before the marriage… that they’ve been able to separate the two, not one of these folks ever seemed to have said, “Hmmm, I trust my spouse and although I do trust the church leadership too, I know he/she is not irrational. Let me take a serious look at what he/she has to say.””

    Brian is right–we didn’t have time to go into that and that really wasn’t the topic. The topic was the impact that disaffection has on the marriage. But the truth is I have taken a serious look. In fact I would be unable to say that I understood my husband’s disaffection if I hadn’t taken an honest, open-minded look at his concerns. I could hardly be respectful of my husband if I hadn’t taken a close, open-minded look at his concerns. Brian says it well: there are facts then there is meaning and conclusion. I obviously attach a different meaning to those facts and a different conclusion.

    NightAvatar says: “I am also interested to know how Christine (or was it Charlene?) can rationalize that the church teaches great family values when so many people seem to have advised her to leave her husband.” With only a couple exceptions, those who questioned why I stayed married to an “apostate” were LDS friends and family, NOT ecclesiastical leaders. And like Kristene says, they were well-meaning but ignorant or unthinking. Those who said that and are still around to see the marriage we’ve built are very happy that we’re still married and are very supportive.

  41. Eric comstock Reply

    first John I like that your podcasts are an hour long. I think it works. second I think all of your guests are courageous for working through the trials they have been faced with. and to the spouses that are non-believing I think you are also showing great courage. it was a good show and reminded me how I will need to aproach the subject when I speak to my family.

  42. Eric comstock Reply

    first John I like that your podcasts are an hour long. I think it works. second I think all of your guests are courageous for working through the trials they have been faced with. and to the spouses that are non-believing I think you are also showing great courage. it was a good show and reminded me how I will need to aproach the subject when I speak to my family.

  43. badseed Reply

    A very interesting podcast. Thanks all.

    This topic is a hard one because it gets to the really tough issues surrounding disaffection and mixed-belief marriages. I’ve been disaffected for a number of years and my wife is still active and attends. While there are challenges for us a couple, deciding on how to deal with our kids has been far more tricky.

    For example, I have avoided telling my kids the real reason why I don’t go to Church when they’ve asked. I don’t like doing this (lying or obfuscating) but 2 of them are a little young yet to be able to understand just yet (8 and 11). My wife however doesn’t even want me to talk to my 14 year old about my reasons. I’ve explained to her that I think it’s important to be honest with the kids and that as their father my views should be available to them as well (when age appropriate) as her own.

    She doesn’t see it the same way and so til now I have complied— but it it is taking it’s toll on our relationship. I’m hurt and feel like I am being made into a stranger in my own home. I guess it’s OK for me to provide financially and work around the house and help with math homework— I just better not share my reasons for no longer believing with my teen-aged daughter. My rights as a father have been revoked. Truthfully, it’s hard to feel that wife loves or even respects me with these current demands.

    Anyway, this isn’t just about me but many others as well. And despite a commitment to family and a real effort to make it work, things are sometimes not easy or ‘fair’. Hopefully in most marriages where one is disaffected— like in all healthy marriages— BOTH people are giving a little and feeling like they are heard and matter. If not, then sooner or later the determination to keep it together will likely die— and there are no winners when that happens.

    • Maria Reply

      I completely agree.  Why is it ok for your children at such a young age to be indoctrinated into her religion/viewpoint but not yours?  If they are too young to hear your religious feelings then they are too young to be trotted off to her church and immersed in her religious feelings.  8 and 11 is too young?  Why then does anyone expect them to be ready for baptism at 8?

  44. badseed Reply

    A very interesting podcast. Thanks all.

    This topic is a hard one because it gets to the really tough issues surrounding disaffection and mixed-belief marriages. I’ve been disaffected for a number of years and my wife is still active and attends. While there are challenges for us a couple, deciding on how to deal with our kids has been far more tricky.

    For example, I have avoided telling my kids the real reason why I don’t go to Church when they’ve asked. I don’t like doing this (lying or obfuscating) but 2 of them are a little young yet to be able to understand just yet (8 and 11). My wife however doesn’t even want me to talk to my 14 year old about my reasons. I’ve explained to her that I think it’s important to be honest with the kids and that as their father my views should be available to them as well (when age appropriate) as her own.

    She doesn’t see it the same way and so til now I have complied— but it it is taking it’s toll on our relationship. I’m hurt and feel like I am being made into a stranger in my own home. I guess it’s OK for me to provide financially and work around the house and help with math homework— I just better not share my reasons for no longer believing with my teen-aged daughter. My rights as a father have been revoked. Truthfully, it’s hard to feel that wife loves or even respects me with these current demands.

    Anyway, this isn’t just about me but many others as well. And despite a commitment to family and a real effort to make it work, things are sometimes not easy or ‘fair’. Hopefully in most marriages where one is disaffected— like in all healthy marriages— BOTH people are giving a little and feeling like they are heard and matter. If not, then sooner or later the determination to keep it together will likely die— and there are no winners when that happens.

  45. Winston Reply

    The podcast was really great overall… but was anyone else uncomfortable with how many times the panel mentioned their spouse’s disuse of garments? I hate that it has become some sort of status symbol, “my husband stopped wearing his garments on March 10, 2010.” What does that even mean? Why does it matter? Why would anyyone else need to know that? I just think it’s weird that members discuss how their disbelieving spouse stops wearing garments and when. Kind of a personal thing. Something no one else really needs to know… Overall, though, I think everyone did a fantastic job approaching a difficult subject.

    Keep it up, John.

  46. Winston Reply

    The podcast was really great overall… but was anyone else uncomfortable with how many times the panel mentioned their spouse’s disuse of garments? I hate that it has become some sort of status symbol, “my husband stopped wearing his garments on March 10, 2010.” What does that even mean? Why does it matter? Why would anyyone else need to know that? I just think it’s weird that members discuss how their disbelieving spouse stops wearing garments and when. Kind of a personal thing. Something no one else really needs to know… Overall, though, I think everyone did a fantastic job approaching a difficult subject.

    Keep it up, John.

  47. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks for your comment Charlene. Still, nobody has answered how the church teaches good family values. The point I was making is that plenty of what is taught in church has enough of a negative effect on members that they give such insidious, harmful advice – well intented as it may be. I don’t see what difference it makes if it comes from a leader or a common member. They all learn their morals from the same source, do they not? And the fact that Peggy’s husband (and plenty others, believe me) claim the Lord has revealed to them (answered prayer, what ever) that they should split up the family should really make one question the so-called “family values” espoused in the church.

    Badseed, I’m in pretty much the same boat. My wife wants me to keep my facts, opinions, insight, whatever (anything non faith promoting) to myself. Worse, parents, friends and even church leaders have said the same thing. I find that appaling advice.

    I don’t care what they think, they’re my kids as well as my wife’s. I have every right to share with them experiences and insight that I think will open their minds a bit and help them see the world in a less black & white fashion. What’s important IMO is to not directly contradict or speak against anything their mother tells them. That would be disrespectful.

    I have told my 11, 13 & 15 year olds exactly how I see the church and religion as well as my take on god. They know I am an atheist and that their mother is Christian (LDS). My 8 and 3 year olds know less details (especially the youngest, naturally) but I am always honest with them and will tell them more as they get older. When they have been to church, I always ask what they learned or what the lesson topic was. If it was a historical story, I fill them in on the parts their teacher left out, or explain “some people see it this way” or give them background info and context to help them see the bigger, and more complete picture.

    To me the key is to be respectful yet informative. Ask them questions. Teach them reason and critical thinking. Not to just accept anything taught by authority figures. To do their own homework.

    This is probably the biggest “issue” my wife has with me; that I don’t leave the religious and moral teachings to her and Mormon leaders. But she is equally welcome to bear her testimony or share faith-promoting stories with them if she wants. Who am I to sensor her? Or to make demands for what she is or isn’t allowed to teach or discuss with her own children? Since I respect her right to free speech, I expect the same respect: I will take part in raising my children, in ways I deem productive and useful for their growth and development.

  48. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks for your comment Charlene. Still, nobody has answered how the church teaches good family values. The point I was making is that plenty of what is taught in church has enough of a negative effect on members that they give such insidious, harmful advice – well intented as it may be. I don’t see what difference it makes if it comes from a leader or a common member. They all learn their morals from the same source, do they not? And the fact that Peggy’s husband (and plenty others, believe me) claim the Lord has revealed to them (answered prayer, what ever) that they should split up the family should really make one question the so-called “family values” espoused in the church.

    Badseed, I’m in pretty much the same boat. My wife wants me to keep my facts, opinions, insight, whatever (anything non faith promoting) to myself. Worse, parents, friends and even church leaders have said the same thing. I find that appaling advice.

    I don’t care what they think, they’re my kids as well as my wife’s. I have every right to share with them experiences and insight that I think will open their minds a bit and help them see the world in a less black & white fashion. What’s important IMO is to not directly contradict or speak against anything their mother tells them. That would be disrespectful.

    I have told my 11, 13 & 15 year olds exactly how I see the church and religion as well as my take on god. They know I am an atheist and that their mother is Christian (LDS). My 8 and 3 year olds know less details (especially the youngest, naturally) but I am always honest with them and will tell them more as they get older. When they have been to church, I always ask what they learned or what the lesson topic was. If it was a historical story, I fill them in on the parts their teacher left out, or explain “some people see it this way” or give them background info and context to help them see the bigger, and more complete picture.

    To me the key is to be respectful yet informative. Ask them questions. Teach them reason and critical thinking. Not to just accept anything taught by authority figures. To do their own homework.

    This is probably the biggest “issue” my wife has with me; that I don’t leave the religious and moral teachings to her and Mormon leaders. But she is equally welcome to bear her testimony or share faith-promoting stories with them if she wants. Who am I to sensor her? Or to make demands for what she is or isn’t allowed to teach or discuss with her own children? Since I respect her right to free speech, I expect the same respect: I will take part in raising my children, in ways I deem productive and useful for their growth and development.

  49. JackUK Reply

    What a great podcast. Thanks to all the panel for sharing their experiences and to John for facilitating the discussion. Episodes like this one and the Mormon Stories episode with Jacque could help bring a new and much more mature way of understanding and approaching the challenges that believing and non-believing spouses face in their marriages. Too many end in recrimination and separation. I hope that some listening to this can find a way to negotiate their difficulties with respect and love. We might fall out of love with the church but does a partner have to fall out of love with us too? When it comes to family values I think that love, patience, tolerance and respect should head the list.

  50. JackUK Reply

    What a great podcast. Thanks to all the panel for sharing their experiences and to John for facilitating the discussion. Episodes like this one and the Mormon Stories episode with Jacque could help bring a new and much more mature way of understanding and approaching the challenges that believing and non-believing spouses face in their marriages. Too many end in recrimination and separation. I hope that some listening to this can find a way to negotiate their difficulties with respect and love. We might fall out of love with the church but does a partner have to fall out of love with us too? When it comes to family values I think that love, patience, tolerance and respect should head the list.

  51. Brian Johnston Reply

    “Still, nobody has answered how the church teaches good family values.”

    The LDS Church as a social institution provides a framework where functional family values (an ideal) are encouraged and nurtured. The culture and community places high social value on family life. As a mother or father, this means you are seen as “successful” and are given a sense of accomplishment when we strive towards these ideals.

    In a culture that values wealth, the rich are seen as successful.

    In a culture that values education, like traditional Jewish culture for example, Rabbis are are high-status roles.

    In a community that values dominance, perhaps like a prison culture, the strong and brutal have social prominence.

    The LDS Church promotes the nuclear family. Does it achieve this? Not always. It’s not perfect for sure. But I can tell you from my own personal experience that I feel reinforced in my desire to be a loving father and husband by my participation in the Church. I am encourage through class discussion and association with other men in the LDS community to be emotionally available to my family, to make them a priority in my life, and to try and be a good example in the way I live my life.

    Here is a quote from the Church website (www.lds.org). It’s under Gospel Library, Gospel Topics, Family:

    “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

    Try this. Remove ALL the baggage from your mind. Pretend this doesn’t even come from the LDS Church specifically. Just read the above text as it is. That is a noble and wonderful teaching. The more families we could influence and encourage to try and put these ideas into practice (regardless of specifics), the more functional and beautiful the world would become — and I don’t mean in some distant afterlife. I mean in the here and now.

    That is inspiring to me.

  52. Brian Johnston Reply

    “Still, nobody has answered how the church teaches good family values.”

    The LDS Church as a social institution provides a framework where functional family values (an ideal) are encouraged and nurtured. The culture and community places high social value on family life. As a mother or father, this means you are seen as “successful” and are given a sense of accomplishment when we strive towards these ideals.

    In a culture that values wealth, the rich are seen as successful.

    In a culture that values education, like traditional Jewish culture for example, Rabbis are are high-status roles.

    In a community that values dominance, perhaps like a prison culture, the strong and brutal have social prominence.

    The LDS Church promotes the nuclear family. Does it achieve this? Not always. It’s not perfect for sure. But I can tell you from my own personal experience that I feel reinforced in my desire to be a loving father and husband by my participation in the Church. I am encourage through class discussion and association with other men in the LDS community to be emotionally available to my family, to make them a priority in my life, and to try and be a good example in the way I live my life.

    Here is a quote from the Church website (www.lds.org). It’s under Gospel Library, Gospel Topics, Family:

    “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

    Try this. Remove ALL the baggage from your mind. Pretend this doesn’t even come from the LDS Church specifically. Just read the above text as it is. That is a noble and wonderful teaching. The more families we could influence and encourage to try and put these ideas into practice (regardless of specifics), the more functional and beautiful the world would become — and I don’t mean in some distant afterlife. I mean in the here and now.

    That is inspiring to me.

  53. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks Brian. That does help. And I see what you mean. It appears more (from the quote and actions of leaders) that they are really interested in keeping families active in the church than promoting family values.

    As an atheist, I take issue with about half of concepts and content in the quote. Certainly nothing at all inspirational. Especially that last sentence, which actually helps me to empathize with faithful spouses who feel obligated (even inspired) to leave their apostates. The high law of the church makes it a damnable offense to not teach our kids to “observe the commandments of God” or “provide for their … spiritual needs.”

  54. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks Brian. That does help. And I see what you mean. It appears more (from the quote and actions of leaders) that they are really interested in keeping families active in the church than promoting family values.

    As an atheist, I take issue with about half of concepts and content in the quote. Certainly nothing at all inspirational. Especially that last sentence, which actually helps me to empathize with faithful spouses who feel obligated (even inspired) to leave their apostates. The high law of the church makes it a damnable offense to not teach our kids to “observe the commandments of God” or “provide for their … spiritual needs.”

  55. NightAvatar Reply

    Brian, I’m terribly sorry. After re-reading through my last comment I see it comes off entirely different than I intended. I wish I could edit it to fix it to my intention. It’s difficult to keep track of an entire comment when typing from an iPhone. I should use my pc instead. 🙂

    Anyways, what I meant was that I do see what you mean, and how from your perspective that quote and other things can be seen as promoting family values. I simply see more to it than that. Perhaps if I were Christian or Jewish it would be easier to see the value in the quote. As an atheist I see things quite differently and take offense (not by you but authority figures) by the direct insinuation that non-believers have lesser morals. But I won’t debate it here. I just wanted to clarify my above post and to again thank you for sharing. I appreciate your efforts! 🙂

  56. NightAvatar Reply

    Brian, I’m terribly sorry. After re-reading through my last comment I see it comes off entirely different than I intended. I wish I could edit it to fix it to my intention. It’s difficult to keep track of an entire comment when typing from an iPhone. I should use my pc instead. 🙂

    Anyways, what I meant was that I do see what you mean, and how from your perspective that quote and other things can be seen as promoting family values. I simply see more to it than that. Perhaps if I were Christian or Jewish it would be easier to see the value in the quote. As an atheist I see things quite differently and take offense (not by you but authority figures) by the direct insinuation that non-believers have lesser morals. But I won’t debate it here. I just wanted to clarify my above post and to again thank you for sharing. I appreciate your efforts! 🙂

  57. Brian Johnston Reply

    How about this way:

    “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. [Insert favorite secular inspirational quote about children]. Parents have an [ethical] duty to rear their children in love and [morality], to provide for their physical and [emotional] needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe [a sense of purpose and focus in living their life] and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before [history] for the discharge of these obligations.”

    See? I only had to change a few words. Just a plain, good, simple idea from start to finish. The language and vocabulary in some parts are just cultural.

    We’re really all more alike than not, even those who are working on living a good life without a belief in a supreme being.

  58. Brian Johnston Reply

    How about this way:

    “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. [Insert favorite secular inspirational quote about children]. Parents have an [ethical] duty to rear their children in love and [morality], to provide for their physical and [emotional] needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe [a sense of purpose and focus in living their life] and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before [history] for the discharge of these obligations.”

    See? I only had to change a few words. Just a plain, good, simple idea from start to finish. The language and vocabulary in some parts are just cultural.

    We’re really all more alike than not, even those who are working on living a good life without a belief in a supreme being.

  59. Brian Johnston Reply

    I really get the feeling you are a good man NightAvatar, one who is passionate about truth and being a good father. You wouldn’t be here talking about all this if you were not one of those people, like us, that cares about these things.

    The best suggestion I can think of is to be the great man you are. Try to not focus on the negative. Instead of telling your children about how bad the LDS Church is, tell them how your own personal views inspire you. Tell them about what is great about your humanist beliefs. Tell them about inspirational secular humanists. There are a great many of them out there. Tell them about how you see life, and what is important to you.

    Above all else, BE the good example of love, acceptance and tolerance. Your children will see this, and it will be more powerful than words.

  60. Brian Johnston Reply

    I really get the feeling you are a good man NightAvatar, one who is passionate about truth and being a good father. You wouldn’t be here talking about all this if you were not one of those people, like us, that cares about these things.

    The best suggestion I can think of is to be the great man you are. Try to not focus on the negative. Instead of telling your children about how bad the LDS Church is, tell them how your own personal views inspire you. Tell them about what is great about your humanist beliefs. Tell them about inspirational secular humanists. There are a great many of them out there. Tell them about how you see life, and what is important to you.

    Above all else, BE the good example of love, acceptance and tolerance. Your children will see this, and it will be more powerful than words.

  61. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks for your kind words and good advice. I want to emphasize that I do not tell my children “how bad the LDS church is.” I don’t. I only share with them a wider perspective of the things they learn at church. Most of what I tell them isn’t even negative towards the church. It just fills some of the gaps. I try very hard to be fair and balanced. I want them to be able to make educated decisions about these things. I feel I was very much left in the dark, mislead and manipulated in my youth. I want my kids to feel they were treated with respect (not glossing over history because “they can’t handle the truth”) and allowed to choose for themselves what they want to believe. Sharing only the sanitized LDS version of history is IMO not giving them that choice – or at least giving it under false pretenses.

    I like the advice in your last paragraph. Good words to live by. 🙂

  62. NightAvatar Reply

    Thanks for your kind words and good advice. I want to emphasize that I do not tell my children “how bad the LDS church is.” I don’t. I only share with them a wider perspective of the things they learn at church. Most of what I tell them isn’t even negative towards the church. It just fills some of the gaps. I try very hard to be fair and balanced. I want them to be able to make educated decisions about these things. I feel I was very much left in the dark, mislead and manipulated in my youth. I want my kids to feel they were treated with respect (not glossing over history because “they can’t handle the truth”) and allowed to choose for themselves what they want to believe. Sharing only the sanitized LDS version of history is IMO not giving them that choice – or at least giving it under false pretenses.

    I like the advice in your last paragraph. Good words to live by. 🙂

  63. Peggy Reply

    Brian,

    I can see both you and NightAvatar are good men trying your very best to be good fathers. I can see you are struggling to be compassionate and inclusive and understand the outsider, but, Brian, are you truly hearing NightAvatar?

    It would be nice if we could reword everything the church has written to fit what we wish they had said, but we cannot. The quote you posted DOESN’T read the way you reworded it. The original quote DOES direct people at least 50% toward church values and not 100% toward family values. In my experience, many Mormons have those two values so intertwined that they cannot separate them (and believe they should not separate them). And that is where the intolerance is born.

    Just something to think about, but could this type of quote be the source of the belief that allowing an “apostate” to have a voice in their own home with their own children would be against good family values?

    (Examples: “Parents have a sacred duty” “to provide for their…spiritual needs,” “to observe the commandments of God,” “will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”)

  64. Peggy Reply

    Brian,

    I can see both you and NightAvatar are good men trying your very best to be good fathers. I can see you are struggling to be compassionate and inclusive and understand the outsider, but, Brian, are you truly hearing NightAvatar?

    It would be nice if we could reword everything the church has written to fit what we wish they had said, but we cannot. The quote you posted DOESN’T read the way you reworded it. The original quote DOES direct people at least 50% toward church values and not 100% toward family values. In my experience, many Mormons have those two values so intertwined that they cannot separate them (and believe they should not separate them). And that is where the intolerance is born.

    Just something to think about, but could this type of quote be the source of the belief that allowing an “apostate” to have a voice in their own home with their own children would be against good family values?

    (Examples: “Parents have a sacred duty” “to provide for their…spiritual needs,” “to observe the commandments of God,” “will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”)

  65. Brian Johnston Reply

    Am I hearing/understanding NightAvatar? I don’t know. I am trying to. I’ve only exchanged a few paragraphs of conversation. It sounds like his wife is very faithful, traditional and inflexible in her Church views. I think he worries that she might leave him and try to take the kids because he does not believe. He feels the influence of the Church is damaging his marriage and he worries about it influencing his children. He has seen other women in his community leave their husbands because of unbelief.

    That is heart breaking. It really is. It tears me up to hear stories like that, and it’s why I spend time helping believing spouses that I can reach (through FacesEast and in person) to see there are other possibilities.

    Maybe his wife should abandon all her faith and everything she grew up to cherish, if she really cared more for him than the Church.

    Maybe NA should just believe again and turn back into the man she married, faithful and obedient to the Church.

    … or perhaps they can try and find somewhere between those two polar opposites that will actually work, allowing them to stay together as a family.

    I negotiate and live this drama every day in my personal life too. It sucks sometimes. I can wish it were different until the end of time, but it didn’t turn out that way in my real life. So what do we do? We make it work some other way. I’m not giving up.

    “It would be nice if we could reword everything the church has written to fit what we wish they had said, but we cannot.”

    Sure we can. I just did. It wasn’t hard 🙂 You can do it too, if you want. It’s a choice, a decision about how we are going to use ideas from other people in the real world of our lives.

    I can’t control what every other Mormon does with quotes. If they use that quote to build intolerance and fear within them, their marriage to a non-believer will fail (even if they stay married). I can control what I do with ideas like that.

    I see the soup. You see the fly. There’s a fly in the soup. What do we do with that?

  66. Brian Johnston Reply

    Am I hearing/understanding NightAvatar? I don’t know. I am trying to. I’ve only exchanged a few paragraphs of conversation. It sounds like his wife is very faithful, traditional and inflexible in her Church views. I think he worries that she might leave him and try to take the kids because he does not believe. He feels the influence of the Church is damaging his marriage and he worries about it influencing his children. He has seen other women in his community leave their husbands because of unbelief.

    That is heart breaking. It really is. It tears me up to hear stories like that, and it’s why I spend time helping believing spouses that I can reach (through FacesEast and in person) to see there are other possibilities.

    Maybe his wife should abandon all her faith and everything she grew up to cherish, if she really cared more for him than the Church.

    Maybe NA should just believe again and turn back into the man she married, faithful and obedient to the Church.

    … or perhaps they can try and find somewhere between those two polar opposites that will actually work, allowing them to stay together as a family.

    I negotiate and live this drama every day in my personal life too. It sucks sometimes. I can wish it were different until the end of time, but it didn’t turn out that way in my real life. So what do we do? We make it work some other way. I’m not giving up.

    “It would be nice if we could reword everything the church has written to fit what we wish they had said, but we cannot.”

    Sure we can. I just did. It wasn’t hard 🙂 You can do it too, if you want. It’s a choice, a decision about how we are going to use ideas from other people in the real world of our lives.

    I can’t control what every other Mormon does with quotes. If they use that quote to build intolerance and fear within them, their marriage to a non-believer will fail (even if they stay married). I can control what I do with ideas like that.

    I see the soup. You see the fly. There’s a fly in the soup. What do we do with that?

  67. Peggy Reply

    Hey Brian…I AM the fly in the Mormon soup. What should they do with me? :-0

  68. Peggy Reply

    Hey Brian…I AM the fly in the Mormon soup. What should they do with me? :-0

  69. Brian Johnston Reply

    They should learn to love fly soup 🙂 It has extra protein, with an earthy texture yet piquant flavor … I’m not sure how far we can really take this and make it work. LOL

  70. Brian Johnston Reply

    They should learn to love fly soup 🙂 It has extra protein, with an earthy texture yet piquant flavor … I’m not sure how far we can really take this and make it work. LOL

  71. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Reporting Live Edition! | Main Street Plaza

  72. chanson Reply

    Shouldn’t she also have been requested to stop attending church for six weeks? The street to understanding is a two-way road.

    Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    So, the counselor essentially said that he has to take a break from his “antagonistic” support group — while ignoring the fact that the LDS church community is a support group, and it’s one that is antagonistic to unbelieving spouses. IMHO, that attitude creates an extremely counter-productive imbalance that says “Really, he‘s the one whose choices are wrong, he’s ‘the problem'” — instead of a more healthy, balanced recognition that it’s a case of two people who have a serious point of disagreement but want to find a way to get along. The counselor should have said that both partners need to take a break from their ideological communities and mutually focus on each other and on their family.

    Kristene, you’ve repeatedly pointed out “Hey, it’s just six weeks.” I’m totally down with that, and I think it’s a totally reasonable request that he take a break from FLAK and NOM for six weeks for his family. But by the same token, you could also give up church for six little weeks for the sake of your family, couldn’t you?

    That said, please don’t take this as a personal judgment — I’m taking issue far more with the counselor (whose supposed to be a professional…) than with you. 😉

    That one trivial point aside, I really liked the interview, and I was thrilled to hear some recognition for the famous “Prairie Chuck” who always has such great empathy and advice for those who care about the church and about their less-believing spouse as well.

    In the case of a mixed-faith couple, I don’t think the believing spouse should be treated as “the problem” any more than the non-believing spouse should. And I absolutely believe that the faithful LDS spouse needs (and deserves) a support group that truly understands what they’re sacrificing when they choose to stay with a non-believing spouse and when they choose to value their mixed-faith family. (My parents have a similar situation.)

    That’s why I’ve recommended the “Faces East” forum many times in my blogging (most recently in my “Sunday in Outer Blogness” column).

  73. chanson Reply

    Shouldn’t she also have been requested to stop attending church for six weeks? The street to understanding is a two-way road.

    Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    So, the counselor essentially said that he has to take a break from his “antagonistic” support group — while ignoring the fact that the LDS church community is a support group, and it’s one that is antagonistic to unbelieving spouses. IMHO, that attitude creates an extremely counter-productive imbalance that says “Really, he‘s the one whose choices are wrong, he’s ‘the problem'” — instead of a more healthy, balanced recognition that it’s a case of two people who have a serious point of disagreement but want to find a way to get along. The counselor should have said that both partners need to take a break from their ideological communities and mutually focus on each other and on their family.

    Kristene, you’ve repeatedly pointed out “Hey, it’s just six weeks.” I’m totally down with that, and I think it’s a totally reasonable request that he take a break from FLAK and NOM for six weeks for his family. But by the same token, you could also give up church for six little weeks for the sake of your family, couldn’t you?

    That said, please don’t take this as a personal judgment — I’m taking issue far more with the counselor (whose supposed to be a professional…) than with you. 😉

    That one trivial point aside, I really liked the interview, and I was thrilled to hear some recognition for the famous “Prairie Chuck” who always has such great empathy and advice for those who care about the church and about their less-believing spouse as well.

    In the case of a mixed-faith couple, I don’t think the believing spouse should be treated as “the problem” any more than the non-believing spouse should. And I absolutely believe that the faithful LDS spouse needs (and deserves) a support group that truly understands what they’re sacrificing when they choose to stay with a non-believing spouse and when they choose to value their mixed-faith family. (My parents have a similar situation.)

    That’s why I’ve recommended the “Faces East” forum many times in my blogging (most recently in my “Sunday in Outer Blogness” column).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *